Q. Is it common to not be able to get out of bed, much less hold a job when you have major/severe depression? Well, you asked for detail and significant events, so here it is. I have had several high stress events in the past year, however, I have had this depression now for at least 2 years, before today, but I feel that the following events have made my depression much worse. I had an episode after my divorce in 1999 that lasted 2 to 3 years. The most recent events are: Getting engaged, he has 2 boys, 5yrs & 10yrs old. We see them every three months for at least 2 weeks at a time, in summer it’s 6 weeks. I guess my point is, I suddenly have an instant family which also includes a UNBELIEVABLY vindictive, hateful, unrelenting, ex-wife (even the judge, who is bias toward women in these cases, told her this in her latest attempt to get more child support). My fiance (Leo) and I moved into my house together approx. 4 months after dating. His most recent ex-girlfriend had physically assalted him and charges were pressed by the state. She tried to turn it around on him so that he looked like the bad guy, but it didn’t work, we won the case. It took about 6 months of her postponing the trial, getting a restraining order on my fiance (accusing him of setting a teddy bear on fire on top of her SUV – she’s crazy). Leo was here asleep at the time and I was on the computer. In order to get out of the house, you have to go past the computer room – he didn’t leave this house. He is a patrol/Emergency services officer, if she had won, it would have cost him his job – we had this thought looming over our heads for 6 months – until we went to trial and won. She’s also done several other things to make our life hard. The most recent, was moving to Arizona and befriending Leo’s ex-wife. Until recently, they hated each other. We found our through his ex-girlfriend’s ex-husband, that they are conspiring to get full custody of the kids (by any means). This of course means: more stress, more money, more time, and more agonizing over the whole situation. Also, I recently got hired 2 times, and fired from both jobs. Each lasted for about a month because they were too high stress and impossible for one person to do. To this day, these positions have not been filled by anyone, (I don’t think anyone in their right mind would take either of these jobs). I did – because lately jobs have been hard to come by and I NEED to take anything I can get. I am still out of work and the financial strain is unbearable, we are not able to afford our bills each month, much less have any left for entertainment/relief. The main problem in this is I can’t seem to force myself to even get out of bed, feed myself, much less job hunt. I recently had a death in the family. My parents are our landlords and aren’t financially set enough to let us slide on the rent – and we can’t always come up with it on time. Of course they come to me about payment, or I should say ride my back for payment. Lately, my Leo has seemed resentful towards me, understandably, he claims he isn’t. He has not only been working his normal 10 shifts, but has been going to EMT school. I know he is under a lot of stress as it is without me adding to it, I feel overwhelmingly guilty. Not only because I haven’t been looking for a job and spending all of my time in bed, but the house is a mess. Now that you know my whole life story, (you asked), I need to add that I am feeling much better and feel that I am on the mend, infact, I have a job interview tomorrow. I guess my original question had more to do with my fiance than with me. He feels that even with severe depression, I should still be able to have a job or even want a job. I don’t – no matter how dire my/our circumstances are. Even though I feel better, this job, (which I’m pretty sure I will get), is extremely high stress, has excessivly long hours, and is about an hour drive from the house. However, it is a good job with a good company, so I will take the position if it is offered. I know there is more, but I think this is enough for now. Thank you for your time.

A. It is clear from what you wrote that you and your family indeed have a very hectic life situation. With regard to what your fiancé thinks about individuals who are depressed, my first thought is that he may truly believe that people can rapidly overcome a severe depression. He of course would be very wrong about this. He may just be reacting to the situation that your family is in. You mentioned that you and he are in a tough custody battle as well as being very low on funds, not having enough money to even pay the rent to your parents. It is possible that he is hoping that you will just “get over it” so that you can assist him in stabilizing the family situation. Conversely, it is also possible that he does not understand the nature of severe depression. As you know, depression can be a very debilitating condition. In fact, the World Health Organization rates major depression as one of the top five most disabling conditions in the world. It is hard to know what your fiancé truly thinks about the nature of severe depression. The good news is that you are you are currently feeling better. Now would be a very good time, if you are not already, to find a professional counselor for support and to help you battle your depression. Having a good counselor who you are comfortable with may actually help you prevent a future reoccurrence of depression and maybe extinguish its return for good. Take care and please write again to let me know how you are feeling.